40K Lore: One Battle Mortarion Will Never Forget

Mortarion, Daemon Prince Primarch is coming to the Tabletop – but there is one battle he will never forget…

Mortarion might be a Primarch. He’s also a Daemon Prince. And while that might make him quite a formidable foe, his is NOT invincible. That was one lesson he learned the hard way in the Battle of Kornovin.

Battle of Kornovin

The Battle of Kornovin was a clash in 901.M41 between the Death Guard Chaos Space Marines, led by the Daemon Primarch Mortarion himself, and the Grey Knights led by Supreme Grand Master Geronitan. Mortarion had previously ravaged a large number of Sectors, but the entirety of the Grey Knights only chose to oppose him on Kornovin when Geronitan felt the time was right.

During the struggle, Geronitan was slain by Mortarion and the Grey Knights were forced to withdraw to their final stronghold on the planet as the Daemon horde advanced. During a psychic conclave between all the Brotherhood‘s Grand Masters, Kaldor Draigo was approved as the new Supreme Grand Master of the Grey Knights. Draigo was then psychically transferred with the knowledge of Mortarion’s True Name, the name the Emperor himself had originally intended for him. With this weapon in hand Draigo met Mortarion on the field and after battling through his Deathshroud bodyguards faced the Primarch himself. Draigo proved no match for the Daemon Prince, and on the verge of defeat put his last once of strength into a final psychic bolt. The blast made Mortarion drop his mental guard for a moment, giving Draigo the window he needed to speak the Daemon Prince’s True Name. Mortarion’s body was shattered in that moment. Draigo ripped Mortarion’s heart from his body and carved Geronitans name into it. His material body destroyed, Mortarion’s spirit was sent to the Immaterium. The Primarch has never forgotten the insult Draigo handed him that day.

This clash has not only inspired a Games Workshop Audio Book (Mortarion’s Heart) it also inspired this piece of Goatboy Artwork that I know I’ll never forget:

Who knows what else Dragio carved on his chest. Warp Dust makes people do pretty strange things.


So when all the Death Guard armies show up with Mortarion and kick your butt, just remember what’s going on under his armor…

  • BrianDavion

    one nice thing about the GK codex is they didn’t just make this a random enchounter, with Motry coming to table top they really set up a “inevitable grudge match”

    • Marco Marantz

      problem is the grudge match is a non-event…if Draigo knows Mortarions true name Mortarion cant win. Frankly, Draigo shouldnt even be able to compete with any primarch let alone a demon infused one.

  • Jay Mort

    And then Draigo went into the warp without help and married all the demonnettes and then went to a planet where bad chaos people were hurting orks and killed all the bad chaos people then he invented the power to wake up the Emperor but was so smart he knew it would hurt the imperium so he kept it secret…

    • kobalt60

      You’re hired!

  • wibbling

    Yeah, it wasn’t the fluff’s finest hour.

  • Talos2

    REmains the worst bit of fluff in 40k. Truely dreadful. Well the nurgles garden part of the same story is probably worse, but…… damn

    • Spacefrisian

      There is worse, like Grey Knights taking a bath in Sororitas blood…Totally not something a Khorne worshipper would do

  • 415Native

    “In May 2014, Mat Ward left Games Workshop and currently works as a novelist.” Thank the dark gods for that!!

    • ZeeLobby

      Except they brought him back. Where do you think all this 8th edition fluff came from?

      • Spacefrisian

        Should have hired the songwriter of Gloryhammer instead, thats the epic stuff of legends.

  • LankTank

    Literally the worse written lore in the history of GW. I think Matt Ward was honestly cranking himself in front of a mirror crying about space marines when he wrote that.

  • LankTank

    Personally I love the theory that when Draigo was lost in the warp his mind broke, and his arch rival (that LoC whose name I have completely forgotten) has him imprisoned and is causing him to have mass hallucinations. That is why he is literally doing the impossible and his deeds get increasingly more heroic and unrealistic. And right when Draigo dreams that he has single handedly destroyed the chaos gods himself, the LoC will show him the truth that all he has done is sat chained to a rock soiling himself and THAT will break him completely.

  • Brad Parks

    Did they retcon that? The 7th edition GK codex says that when Mortarion slew Geronitan, Draigo went into a rage and immediately slaughtered every death guard between himself and Mortarion and completely crushed Mortarion on the spot unassisted. He was named Supreme Grand Master in the aftermath. The one listed here is even less extreme than the codex one.

  • luke-vdv

    Awww, what a cute story.

  • Marco Marantz

    /facepalm. Why do people even bother with 40K lore. Its terrible. Its like the typical episode of star trek where there is build up for 42 mins then a solution plucked from the air before the credits roll. Its always the case against chaos beasties that are nigh on unstoppable until some point at which the beastie deflates like an unknotted balloon, usually as a result of some macguffin. Seriously, true names as such a powerful vulnerability is so lame…and so many holes in the stories…ie above…why wasnt Geronitan informed of and use Mortarions true name….why didnt Draigo open with the True Name attack instead of waiting until he was nearly beaten? In other lore a True Name doesnt make a demon vulnerable it either grants control over them or dispels them. And as Mortarion was granted daemonhood by Nurgle, it would be the daemon name Nurgle granted that would be Mortarions true name, not the name the emperor was going to give him when he was a mortal. Just lame story with plot holes you could drive a mastadon through.